- Boris Johnson’s government is telling workers to stay home if they can.
- This follows weeks when his government urged the people of England to return to office.
- Prime Minister Johnson will announce the new directions to MPs on Tuesday afternoon.
- His government will also introduce a 22-hour curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants.
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Boris Johnson will today urge people to work from home if they can in order to stop a spike in coronavirus infections, just weeks after the start of a return to work.
The British Prime Minister will address the House of Commons on Tuesday, where he will confirm that the government has abandoned efforts to get more people in England back to their workplaces.
The directives represent a radical change in government policy.
The British Prime Minister said in July: “I want people to start working again now if you can” and a month later Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, urged the people of London to “do our part” and go back to their offices to help the economy.
A Telegraph newspaper front page informed by government sources last month warned Britons to “return to work or risk losing your job”.
However, Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said on Tuesday that the government is now encouraging people to work from home when possible.
Gove told Sky News, “There’s going to be a shift in focus and one of the things we’re going to highlight is that if it’s possible for people to work from home, we’ll encourage them to do so. ”
He said, “Now it’s important to point out that there are many, many, many roles that cannot be played at home.
“There are people in manufacturing, in construction, in retail and other roles where we recognize it’s just not possible and that’s why we’ve been working to make sure you can have workplaces secured by Covid.
“We have to strike a balance, of course, between the need to ensure that people can continue to work and, in fact, to critically ensure that people can go to school and benefit from education versus taking measures to try to reduce the virus, which is why if we can appropriately limit restrict social contact, this is what we are trying to do. ”
The U-turn will be part of a series of measures Johnson announced when he speaks to MPs about the government’s response to the recent resurgence of the virus at lunchtime on Tuesday.
He has been under pressure to tighten social distancing rules with the number of new infections growing exponentially, and his science advisers warned yesterday that it could reach 50,000 new cases a day by mid-October. There were 4,368 new cases of the virus on Monday.
Johnson’s government announced Monday night that from Thursday there would be a 10 p.m. curfew on pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality establishments in England as part of initial efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Hospitality businesses will also be required by law to stick to table service.
However, the UK government’s new measures do not go as far as those introduced in Northern Ireland, where Prime Minister Arlene Foster has announced a ban on mixing different households indoors. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to go further than the Westminster government when she announces new measures on Tuesday.
The Times of London newspaper reports that Johnson was tempted to announce tougher measures, but sided with Chancellor Sunak, who feared the lockdown of the hospitality industry would have dire economic consequences. The same report says scientists at SAGE, the group that advises the government, wanted the British Prime Minister to take stronger action.